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Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Notes from my mom

When my mom read what I had posted about the day we met Rebekah, (See post "Two Years" from 2/17/10) she sent some notes she kept about what was going through her head the day before and day of Rebekah joining her family. They are so well written and heartfelt. I just had to share with all of you. By the way, and on a totally unrelated note, my girls and my sister's boys all call my mom "Gramcracker." Just a fun extra :) The above photos were taken of Gramcracker and the girls about a week after Rebekah joined our family. (Rachel 4 3/4 and Rebekah 9 1/2 mos)


by Judy Ligo

Today was one of my many new experiences. After settling on the thirtieth floor of the hotel in Changsha, many of the group started out to the grocery store for diapers, baby cereal, and correct formula. They struggled to read labels written in Chinese Characters. Four year old Rachel and I trailed behind Gwen as she also searched for many of these things. This being her second experience adopting and having lived in China for three months at this point, she had more specific goals in mind.

Being pushed and shoved by local domestic residents I insisted that Rachel stay with me and hold my hand as we tried to keep Gwen in view and bumped and shoved to stay with her. I was not accustomed to this crowded lifestyle and sensing the stares of Asian eyes. I was the one whose fake blond hair and blue eyes drew the stares. In this community my Caucasian looks did not attract as much attention as it had in Qingdao. Rachel’s olive complexion and sleek black hair provided a confusing comparison with my looks and aroused the curiosity of the other shoppers.

We had to get accustomed to the inquisitive looks we received.

Now I began to feel some of the nervousness and mixed emotions of these young American adults who were soon to experience a total change in their lives.

Many who had been living a comfortable two income lifestyle in Middle-America were overnight to become parents with unknown responsibilities for small children from ten months to three years of age who had never been outside the walls of orphanages.

The lives for these American, well educated, comfortable adults and these small totally dependent little ones would soon be melded into a “family”. This afternoon they were facing unknown situations and their future would take on a new dimension.

What about the Chinese young people who had fathered and birthed these babies and who will never know about the loving homes that will be opening for these infants they left at a gate in a park or at a police station?

I look down at Rachel and what she is developing into – bright, intellectually curious. Then, I think of the coming afternoon for me.

Here I am experiencing what hundreds of grandparents in the U.S. are wishing they could share with me. Sitting at home in Middle America in their warm comfortable homes waiting for the first call from over the ocean that now they are suddenly the grandma and pop-pop of a child that they will love and cherish for the rest of their lives.

They will buy Christmas and Birthday gifts for them, introduce them to their friends, take pictures and be proud of their soft black hair and the most beautiful big dark eyes..

They will wrap their arms around these little ones as they return to the US to be the newest citizens, as immigrants since the 1600’s, have brought new life to the American culture.

I must remember this special opportunity that has been given to me.

Sharing and watching the new parents carry these special gifts back to the hotel –this new beginning for them.

Rachel is so excited waiting to see her new sister carried off the elevator

One couple is getting twins, one is getting a 3 year old and many are getting girls just under a year old, each of whom will celebrate her first birthday in the US with loving extended family and siblings.

This, my second Chinese granddaughter experience, is different than the first time when I was one of those at home waiting with the extended family.

Now, I have the privilege of being here to serve as companion for my granddaughter who is 4 ½ and as she says “I am American” and so she is as she speaks only English, sings “Jesus Loves Me” freely, and soaks learning as each new day begins.

Rachel arrived at the hotel much the way her little sister will arrive. Soon like thousands of big sisters before her, she will open her heart and become the play-mate and companion this little one will look up to for the rest of their lives.


  1. OMG....sitting here crying my eyes out ! How special that you have this to share with the girls! Thanks Judy! xo

  2. It is so amazing to be able to read what an open heart sounds like. This is just precious.

    Love to all!

  3. It is very special to have. I am so glad she sent it to me. I just added a couple photos of Mom and the girls from that first two weeks.

  4. Gwen,

    This is so sweet!Thanks for sharing. What a gift for your girls to have their grandmas sweet thoughts and words too!